The contribution to peace of Mary McAleese, President of Ireland from 1997 until 2011, was formally recognised on Saturday with the naming of the cable-stay bridge on the M1 Belfast-Dublin motorway as the Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge.
Louth County Council and Meath County Council decided to name the bridge in recognition of the work done by Mary McAleese and her husband, Dr Martin McAleese, to advocate greater cross-community understanding and respect as part of the Northern Peace Process.
At a ceremony at the Oldbridge estate in county Meath An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said he was delighted to be present for the naming of the Mary McAleese Boyne Valley Bridge. “It is a very fitting tribute that the bridge spanning the Boyne will be named after a President of Ireland who bridged the divide between the two traditions on this island, while reaching out to our nearest neighbours in Britain, the rest of Europe and the wider world.
“Mary McAleese became President as the peace process was transforming relationships on this island and with Britain. She worked diligently to ensure that all communities felt included in this transformative change and worked tirelessly behind the scenes with her husband, Dr Martin McAleese, to advance the cause of peace on this island. Today’s occasion on this historic site is a reminder that we need to keep working together to strengthen and maintain the bridges that have been built between the people on this island,” he said.
Cllr Niamh McGowan, Cathaoirleach, Meath County Council, Martin McGuinness MP MLA, Deputy First Minister, Northern Ireland, also attended the cermeony. Cllr McGowan said the decision to name this truly impressive and unique piece of architecture reflects and marks a Presidency that removed obstacles.